Musical Traditions in Mali | Peace is Showing on the Horizon, But it is Still Far Off.

Tamasheq cultural group Ekanzam are from Menaka, Mali, in the region of Gao, and the cultural zone of Azawak. This area has been at the center of conflict in Mali. Affected by clashes between the Malian army and separatist rebels, and the recent occupation of jihadists and crime cartels, the Noir Kel Tamasheq make up a significant percentage of Northern Mali’s population, and are struggling to make their voices heard for a peaceful, just, and unified country.

Function of tradition: During the rainy season when grass is in abundance, the nomads gather together and make a celebration. The animals have given birth, and the celebrations begin. This traditional music and dance began with the Sheppards. Many of the dance steps represent the activities and movements of the herders. In the songs that the women create, they ask the men to stop the damage they are doing, because it is their sons and husbands who will die. The men are praised in a way that will help them to reflect on the harm they are doing.

Reason for disappearance: Because of insecurity, people can no longer celebrate at night. They are obliged to put out their fires and stay quiet for fear of being attacked. Many people from Azawak have been displaced, which interrupts all aspects of society. Desertification has also had disruptive impact on life and cultural activities in the sahel.